What is wrong with the world?
If we sat down to list all the things that are wrong with the world today, our list might reach the moon. Over the last few years many things have become more complicated. Our social concerns have added weight to our physical, economic, and overall global health. Many people in our world are worried about eating. Many are worried about flooding. Many are worried about drought. Some are worried about being called the proper pronoun. While these issues along with climate change, PFAS, war and nuclear concerns would seem to have different amounts of weight applied to them, they don’t. Not in the way we talk about them. When every issue is a top issue or concern, it leaves us emotionally constrained regarding our ability to feel, process, or even understand.
It is difficult to hold conversations with people as well because at any time we could say something offensive or inappropriate. At the very same time, people want to be able to express themselves in an authentic way. The whole social situation forces people to act in ways that are extreme. The extreme behaviors are now causing the people in the middle to stay quiet.
The anger and frustration are building in this centered community, and it is ripping at the fabric of tolerance, patience and understanding.
On social media there is immediate vilification with immediate consequences. There are many people trying to do the right thing across the board but one mistake even unintentional can reap consequences.
Last week, someone I know posted a comment about a popular actor. The actor is publicly struggling with many issues. When the person posted a comment, they used the wrong pronoun. Instead of the focus being on the actor themselves, the person that posted the comment was attacked about the pronoun usage.
My concern here is that people with a balanced view and perspective will be totally drowned out by noise of those with extreme perspectives. This is a communication crisis. If we can’t disagree with each other and if we can’t debate in a healthy way, we can’t learn. Over the years, I have been in many debates, and I have learned from them. In some cases, it helped inform me of my position and in others, I changed my mind.
If we get stuck in cognitive dissonance, we may find ourselves doubling down on concepts that we believe are inconsistent with our own beliefs. I believe a real-world example of this is the war in Ukraine today. There are clear inconsistencies across the board between the world community and Putin himself. The net result is a war, death, and a potential for nuclear disaster.
We don’t know the truth about how people feel inside. I don’t know that we should know everyone’s deep inner thoughts. I was thinking the other day about how things progress into normalcy and become demands or rights. Here is a fake scenario that may apply to many topics.
Howie needs a space in a warehouse. He asked the person who owns the warehouse for two hundred square feet. The warehouse owner agreed to this with the condition that Howie would pay rent.
Howie agrees to pay rent and moves into the warehouse. After some time, Howie starts making the space in the warehouse comfortable and useful. He starts adding some walls, art, speakers etc.
Howie had access to the common restroom but now wants his own sink and stall. He asks the warehouse owner if this could be assigned to him. The warehouse owner reluctantly agrees to assign a stall and sink.
Howie now starts to see other people using his assigned stall and sink and complains to the warehouse owner. In the meantime, his music is loud and disturbing the other people working in the warehouse. He is also smoking in his area. It leaks out to the others in the warehouse.
Other people start to complain to the warehouse owner. The warehouse owner starts to address it with Howie and now he (Howie) becomes offended. He states that the owner and the people in warehouse are (Howieist) and he starts to threaten the warehouse owner.
Howie goes on social media and starts to broadcast to his very cool and large audience (you) about how the warehouse owner is (IST) and a bad person. In the meantime, Howie is demanding more space in the warehouse because historically, Howies have never had the space required to do the things that Howies do. Also, Howie is the only person allowed to say the word Howieist because if someone else says it, it is offensive. Also, Howie identifies as a highly valued piece of living art. He wants to be addressed by his proper name “Living Art King.”
This story continues, the end result is the warehouse owner became the target of various attacks and lawsuits. Howie sued the warehouse owner for infringing on his rights as a “Living King” and eventually the warehouse owner had to sign over the warehouse to Howie who now owns it fully. Howie created a non-profit, grant and federally funded “Living Art” space where he and his subjects can hang out and be Howie like…
Yes – Conclusion
We don’t need to share our inner thoughts, but we do need to raise our voices to unreasonable social constructs. We do need to address the idea of the common good. If we continue to allow the voices of the extreme right or left, we will find ourselves in our own war. We will be forced to choose sides.
As it stands today, many people are confused and, in many cases, afraid that they would be roasted publicly. If the voices of people with more of a central view are not heard, we will continue to become more unbalanced. We can be balanced, effective, mindful, and kind. If we don’t communicate, we may find ourselves in an explosive situation.
I believe it is time to join the conversations and bring the “middle” back to the table.
What do you think? (Love, Living Art King)